“A rising tide lifts all boats.”

The maritime euphemism is describes how broad based improvement have a wide impact across individual components.

When it comes to one page ecommerce strategy, optimizing your category and collection pages is one the most efficient ways to improve the performance of your website and elevate your products.

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How Shopify Handles Collections as Product Categories

Shopify’s Liquid codebase handles collection pages in a very simple way. 

When someone loads a collection page on a Shopify site, Liquid runs through a series of if-then logic statements to pull all the relevant information.

In order to have a fully formed collection page, you need to make sure that you accomplish the following:

  • Clear title and description for your collection page
  • Clear delineation of what products belong on that page 
  • User-friendly display of what products are on that page (i.e. filter by best sellers, lowest prices, etc)

How to Organize Shopify Collections

When you’re creating collections, you need to make sure that each collection page has enough products to support its existence.

For sites with smaller product catalogs, it’s not a good idea to have category specific collections that have only 1 or 2 products underneath. You’re better off using a catch all collection page to showcase your products in a meaningful way.

But for large catalog ecommerce sites, you should leverage parent and child collection page structure to make the shopping experience as easy as possible.

  • Home
    • Parent Category 1
      • Sub Category 1
      • Sub Category 2
      • Sub Category 3
    • Parent Category 2
      • Sub Category 1
      • Sub Category 2
      • Sub Category 3

Here are some good rules to follow to determine whether a collection page is needed or not:

Are there enough products to warrant a collection/sub-collection page? 

If you don’t have enough products to warrant a collections page, you run the risk of either cannibalizing your rank potential with competing pages or just not having enough to go on, resulting in low-quality pages. A good rule of thumb is if you have a minimum of 3 products that can logically fit on a collection page, then it can have a specific collection page.

Is the collection/sub-collection page niche enough to warrant its own page?

If you have a lot of products, it’s easy to get into the weeds on your categories. When you create a collection page, make sure that it is the appropriate amount of “niche” to warrant a collection page. Too niche and you – again – run the risk of having irrelevant or low-quality collection pages on your site. Not niche enough and you’re likely going to have too many categories with the same products in several different locations. Not a great user experience.

The best way to illustrate this is to utilize an example. 

John’s Clothing Boutique specializes in contemporary clothing for men and women, including formal wear, leisure wear, and more. Here is an example of appropriate niche for collection pages: 

  • Collection for All Blue Clothing: Not niche enough. In this category, you’ll have men’s, women’s, formal, and leisurewear listed which doesn’t help the customer. Who goes on the internet to Google “blue clothing” anyways?
  • Collection for All Women’s Leisurewear: Appropriately niche. This category is filtered enough so that all the clothing is going to be relevant to a shopper. Plus, this is going to be a really solid mid-level keyword with search volume.
  • Collection for Men’s Extra Small Green Striped Collared Shirts: Way too niche. First of all, you should be using product variations to handle requests for specific sizes and colors. Second, unless you specialize in extra small green striped collared shirts, there’s no reason to set up a collection page around this very, very niche product. For 99% of stores, you’ll have 1 maybe 2 products on the page and won’t be able to put together good copy for the product descriptions and collection page content.

Is there enough search volume around the collection/sub-collection page?

Another way to gauge whether a collection page is warranted is to do it based on search volume. Typically, you want ample search volume for a collection page so that you can drive traffic to it. As a general rule of thumb, you should structure collection pages around search terms that have 50+ search volume per month.

Creating Sub-Category Collections in Shopify

While Shopify doesn’t have a built in sub-category feature, there are a few workarounds to accomplish a similar functionality. 

Utilizing Product Tags to Create Sub-Collections on Shopify

You can set up collection sub categories by using tags to filter specific products. Shopify has put together a handy guide here. In order to utilize this feature, your Shopify theme needs to allow “filtering by tag” as a setting on the collection page. It will look something like this:

Once you’ve added that, you can add links to your menu for filtered collections, radio buttons on collection pages to pull filtered collections and more. Visit the link above to follow the guide.

Utilizing Plugins to Create Sub-Collections on Shopify

Because of Shopify’s extensive plugin library, you can also generate filtered collection pages with plugins. As of 2020, there is only one menu plugin that gives you sub-collection page functionality:

The Buddha Mega Menu plugin is an extensive menu functionality, including the creation of link lists (see below) to give users sub-category filtered collection pages.

Utilizing Link Lists to Create Sub-Collections on Shopify

Another way to showcase filtered category or subcategory-like pages is to utilize link lists on collection pages. This is a more advanced technique and should really only be done if you are comfortable editing theme code. The most robust guide on creating and managing link lists can be found here, by ablesense.com.

SEO Considerations for Filtered Category Pages

One thing to note about creating filtered category pages on Shopify is that it isn’t supported with all the proper SEO bells and whistles by the Shopify platform. The biggest concern with these pages is over duplicate content issues. Essentially, these filtered pages will be indexable and have identical content to the parent collection page. If Google indexes these, they may recognize them as identical pages and start seeing your site as low quality. 

The fix is to canonicalize those filtered collection pages. There’s a handy guide from Eli Williams that showcases the process to canonicalizing filtered collection pages in Shopify.

In your theme.liquid file, replace

<link rel="canonical" href="{{ canonical_url }}" />


{% if template contains 'collection' and current_tags %}
<link rel="canonical" href="{{ shop.url }}{{ collection.url }}" />
{% else %}
<link rel="canonical" href="{{ canonical_url }}" />
{% endif %}

Click “Save.”

Shopify Collection Page SEO

On the Shopify platform, they give you all relevant fields to add content to your Shopify collection page. 

  • Collection Title
  • Collection Description
  • Collection Feature Image
  • Collection Title Tag
  • Collection Meta Description
  • Collection URL

Here are the rules to follow for each of the fields to ensure your Shopify collection page has outstanding SEO.

Shopify Collection Title SEO

Similar to product pages, the Collection Title is a key component of your collection page’s SEO setup. When you add in a title to a collection page, you’re setting the H1 heading for the page, what the Collection is named on the backend, and what the user sees when they visit the page.

For the Collection page title, here are some rules of thumb to follow:

  • Be relevant. Name the page something that is going to make sense for the user and that clearly describes what the page is about. 
  • Since this is an H1 and it has slightly lower SEO impact, you can be more brand-y with the content, but be sure that you’re including relevant keywords
  • Keep an eye on the length of your H1. A super long Collection page title is going to look bad on both the front end and the backend.

Shopify Collection Description SEO

Your Shopify Collection description section is an opportunity to add in keyword optimized content above your product feed. 

Shopify Collection Featured Image

The featured image section of the Shopify collection page doesn’t have a huge SEO impact on your page’s performance, but you want to be sure to upload a relevant, unique, and properly optimized image for your collection page. Also be sure to include targeted optimized alt text.

Shopify Collection Title Tag SEO

This field is your collection page’s Title Tag. Title Tags are used in various places on the web:

  • In search results
  • In browser tabs
  • As titles when posts are shared in social media

This is a big player in the SEO of you post so be sure to follow best practices in creating your title tags:

  • Shorter is better, but max of 70 characters
  • Front load with your main target keyword, and end with brand (ex: {KEYWORD/POST TITLE} – {BRAND NAME}

Shopify Collection Meta Description SEO

The meta description is the snippet of text that shows beneath your Title Tag in search results. Although Shopify says you can use up to 320 characters, Google tends to only display about 160 or so. Be sure to keep your descriptions short, sweet, and to the point.

Shopify Collection URL SEO

This field allows you to set the URL for your blog post. Again short, sweet, and relevant is ideal here.

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